Letter: Support expanding charitable deduction

As the debate surrounding comprehensive tax reform and deficit reduction continues, I call on you to support existing incentives for charitable giving by protecting the full scope and value of the tax deduction for all forms of charitable gifts. Charitable giving incentives encourage donors to give more, but under the Senate tax reform proposal, charities could see a staggering loss of up to $13.1 billion in contributions annually. I urge you to write your lawmakers in support of the Wyden-Stabenow amendment.

The public consistently supports the charitable deduction. A 2016 study by Independent Sector found that 88 percent of voters believe we should make it easier for people to deduct charitable contributions from their taxes. A public-opinion poll commissioned by the United Way found that most Americans (79 percent) believe reducing or eliminating the charitable tax deduction would have a negative impact on charities and the people they serve. It is important to remember that charitable giving incentives do not enrich individual donors, but are an investment in the public good, benefiting the millions of Americans who access services provided by nonprofit organizations.

Any changes to the tax code should instead encourage more giving by more Americans. With that in mind, I support expanding the charitable deduction to make it available to 100 percent of all taxpayers, regardless if they itemize, and I urge you to write your state elected officials in support of a universal charitable deduction.

Katie Roche

Iowa City

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